Local Briefs MA News



Mak’hela Seeks Singers
NORTHAMPTON – Mak’hela, The Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts will hold an open rehearsal for prospective members on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Lander-Grinspoon Academy, (LGA) 257 Prospect St., in Northampton.
Mak’Hela performs diverse Jewish music including classical, sacred and secular music, folk and world music, and in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and English. Mak’hela rehearses every Tuesday evening at LGA and performs in synagogues and concert halls throughout the Pioneer Valley.
The chorus is seeking singers for all voice parts.
For more information, call Bonnie Mikesh at (413) 567-3297 or visit www.makhela.org

CT to host first ever Shabbaton for gay and lesbian teens
FALLS VILLAGE, Conn. – KESHET, a national non-profit organization working to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) Jews is partnering with the UJA-Federation of New York and several national Jewish youth groups and programs to present the first ever Shabbaton for LGBTQ teens. The Shabbaton, which is offered to teens free-of-charge, will be held Aug. 24 – 26 at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.
“This Shabbaton is an incredible opportunity for LGBTQ Jewish teens to celebrate who they are,” says Idit Klein, executive director of Keshet.
Organizations joining on as partners in planning, promoting, and staffing the August weekend include the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Habonim Dror North America, Jewish Community Centers Association, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth’s Aleph Project, NFTY, No’ar Hadash, Rockville Open House, United Synagogue Youth, and Young Judaea, along with the gathering’s financial sponsor, UJA-Federation of New York.
The weekend, say organizers, will feature a balance of social activities, workshops, and interactive programs. Along with workshops on topics such as “LGBTQ Themes in Jewish Text” and “Starting a Gay-Straight Alliance,” the weekend will be highlighted by a performance from renowned Orthodox Jewish gay hip-hop music artist Y-Love and a talkback with documentary film director Irena Fayngold (“Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School”). In addition, participants will have open space to enjoy Isabella Freedman’s 400 acres of hiking trails, lakes, and organic farms.
To register or for more information visit www.isabellafreedman.org/lgbtqteen or call (860) 824-5991 ext. 305.

‘Try a Synagogue’ Holiday Programs
SPRINGFIELD – The Try A Synagogue program is sponsoring two upcoming programs in September, a series of open houses and a PJ Library family program.
Try A Synagogue is a program of Congregation B’nai Torah, Sinai Temple, Temple Beth El, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, and funded in part by a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. This program offers a special promotional membership for any of the three participating synagogues: $365 in year one, and $550 in year two. Although prospective synagogue members are always welcome to stop by the three synagogues participating in Try A Synagogue to ask questions and obtain information, the synagogues will especially be ready to greet prospects during the two weeks prior to Rosh Hashanah, on Tuesday, Sept. 4 – Thursday, Sept.6, and Monday, Sept. 10 – Thursday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
During the first two weeks of September, there will also be volunteers at a Try A Synagogue table in the JCC lobby on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays in the mornings from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. and in the evenings from 5 – 6:30 p.m., as well as on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 9 – 10:30 a.m.  Volunteers will be happy to answer questions and provide information.
Families with young children can “Celebrate the New Year with PJ Library” on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Monday, Sept. 17, at 3:30 p.m. at Laurel Pond in Longmeadow. This lively, participatory program will feature storytelling, apples and honey, and more.  There is no cost to attend, but in order to plan accordingly, R.S.V.P. to Rachel Berezin at rberezin@jewishwesternmass.org or call (413) 737-4313, ext. 146.
Prospective members in the Try a Synagogue program are eligible if they haven’t been a member of a synagogue for three years or more.
For more information, contact Debbie Peskin at the Federation office, (413) 737-4313, ext. 121.

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